7 July 2017

NASA Satellite Sees Air Pollution from Fireworks on the 4th

Posted by Dan Satterfield

The image above shows the levels of tiny particulates in the atmosphere measured from the NASA Terra satellite. Note the green good air quality dots turn orange and red as the air fills with soot particles after dark on the 4th.

Suffice to say, those with asthma and other breathing disorders might want to watch the fireworks on TV next year. I was surprised at how strong the signal was. The fact that independence was declared in early July when the atmosphere is fairly quiet with light winds, means the dispersal will be slow. Even more so when you have a low-level temperature inversion that can trap the fine particles near to the ground. More about how this is measured on the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites here. These fine particles can travel deep into the lungs, and there is an air pollution standard for these as well as the more commonly mentioned ozone. More about fine particles and how they can affect your health here.

Hat tip to Marshall Shepherd at the UGA in Atlanta, and the folks at IDEA for spotting this.Dr. Shepherd has more in a post on Forbes.